Early Access to your Superannuation

Individuals and Early Access to Superannuation

The purpose of this blog post is to enable you to make a fast assessment of your eligibility to temporarily access your Superannuation. It is NOT intended to be a comprehensive guide as the rules are quite complex. If, after you have examined the information in this blog post and believe that you may be eligible, please contact our team so we may assist you further.

Eligibility requirements for temporary early access to your Superannuation

The Government will allow eligible individuals affected by the Coronavirus to have up to $10,000 released from their superannuation or retirement savings account on compassionate grounds before 1 July 2020.   A further amount of $10,000 may be withdrawn for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020.

 

Eligibility

An individual is eligible for early release if they satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  1. they are unemployed;
  2. they are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  3. on or after 1 January 2020:
  • the individual was made redundant;
  • the individual’s working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or
  • if the individual is a sole trader — their business was suspended or there was a reduction in their turnover of 20 per cent or more.

Amounts released from superannuation under this temporary measure are tax-free and the amount withdrawn will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

 

How to apply

Individuals will be able to apply online directly to the ATO through their myGov account (www.my.gov.au) for early release of their superannuation from 20th April 2020. Individuals will need to certify that they meet the above eligibility criteria.

An application for release must be made by 24 September 2020.

Individuals will self-assess their eligibility and be able to apply through the ATO online services on myGov. An applicant may specify the amount they wish to have released and the superannuation entity from which the amount is to be released. Only one application per period is permitted. Once the ATO has processed the application, they will issue the individual with a determination via myGov.

 

APRA Funds

A copy of the determination will be sent to the individual’s superannuation fund, which will advise them to release the superannuation payment. The fund will then make the payment to the individual without them needing to apply to the fund directly. However, to expedite payments, it would be prudent for individuals to immediately ensure that the fund has the correct details, including current bank account details and proof of identity documents.

 

SMSF Members

Where the individual is a member of a SMSF, the individual may use the determination issued to them as the authority for release of the funds from the SMSF. Caution for SMSF members. Do not act before you have received the determination from the Commissioner.

 

 

The following questions are intended to assess eligibility for the early access to your Superannuation…

Eligibility Criteria

Conditions for the Individual
Do you satisfy ONE of the following eligible criteria? Yes No
 

1.         Are you unemployed?

 

2.         Are you receiving Government assistance payments             such as;
job seeker payment,
youth allowance for jobseekers,
parenting payment (which includes the                                        single and partnered payments),special benefit orfarm household allowance
3.         On or after 1 January 2020 have you:

Been made redundant or

Had your working hours reduced by 20 per cent or             more or

As a sole trader — your business was suspended or there  was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more?

 

 

Provided you answered YES to any of the above three questions you may be eligible to access your superannuation.

 

You may apply to the ATO through your MyGov account.
Do you have a MyGov account?
Do you know which Superannuation Fund you would like to withdraw your money from?
Do you want to take the maximum $10,000 before 1 July 2020?
Do you want to take the maximum $10,000 after 1 July 2020 but before 30 September 2020?

 

Should I withdraw from my super?

Freshwater Taxation advises our clients that withdrawing from your superannuation should be a last resort only.

The biggest reason for not drawing from your superannuation is it is intended for your retirement. Under normal circumstances, you cannot normally withdraw from your super until you’re at least 60 (known as the preservation age for the release of superannuation). Other circumstances for being able to withdraw super are:

  • You have a terminal illness
  • You have less than $200 in your super fund
  • You’re a temporary resident permanently leaving Australia
  • You are in severe financial hardship
  • You meet ‘compassionate grounds’
  • You’re temporarily or permanently incapacitated

According to the ASFA retirement standard index, a couple would need around $70,000 for a modest retirement and around $640,000 in super for a comfortable retirement, assuming the retirees are between 65-85, have earned 6% p.a. on their super fund and own their home outright.

Superannuation is meant to be a vehicle towards earning a comfortable retirement, so it shouldn’t be drawn down on lightly. Having said this, we are not under normal circumstances, and if you’ve been financially affected by the coronavirus then you could definitely consider yourself to be in financial hardship.

 

Should you have any queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

 

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